Tag Archives: Favorites

Head First Jump

I can feel it. Spring is here. I suddenly want to tackle the clutter only I can see and jump head first into the multiple projects on my mind. Change in one’s life can do that, you know. Shake things up! And I’m all about trusting my intuition and embracing the unknown in the seasons ahead.

In the near future, the Brown clan will revel in a stay-cation. Little do my peeps realize, I have big BIG plans for our 11 days in town…

  • Writing out our Family Tree will hopefully answer all our children’s questions such as ‘who was my great-great-grandfather?’ and ‘Am I more Scottish then English?’
  • Surprising the kids with these gorgeous watercolor pens and postcards
  • Create, divide and conquer this printable To-Do-List from All for the Boys (such fun, don’t you wish you were here vs. Mexico?)
  • Nudge my three little ones to slow down, pick up a pencil and write a new pen-pal (see video below!!) Perhaps an International pen-pal is in the making!

As for me, I’ll be checking out Alexandra Franzen’s One Letter Today free workbook all about the art of letter writing, trying this DIY face-mask, and diving into the pile of books on my side table.

Easter Egg Magic with glitters and tattoos!

But before break begins, this past weekend Beatrice and I got our crafty on with the Bunny Die-Cut Shape Easter cards from Paper Source (so simple with stamps and stickers!). And we joined a friend to create these DIY glitter eggs from Rip&Tan with tattoos as embellishments. I’ll be peeling off super glue from my fingers over the next few weeks but completely worth it!

Image-1And just a reminder, the Brown Ink Paper Goods store is closing its door this Friday! Bittersweet, but as I mentioned, I’m embracing my intuition which is clearly screaming there is more for me. So I will jump, head first.

    Anise & Smudges

    I love traditions. Every year after Christmas I look forward to the arrival of Grandma Sally’s Springerle cookies which she consistently makes in the early part of the new year. Being a crisp cookie topped with anise seeds, Springerle is often not for everyone and is definitely an acquired taste. But over the years I’ve become a huge fan, especially knowing the beautiful cookies were made in my mother-in-law’s kitchen!

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    So last month when Sally asked me if I would like to take part in her tradition, I jumped at the chance to learn the ins and the outs of Springerle. I knew the cookie is not a quick one to make –  you let the dough chill for a day and then wait another day for the cookie shapes to dry before baking – but Sally was ready for her students, Beatrice included.

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     Sally has been creating Springerle for years having made these cookies as a child with her mother. It was a German tradition her biscuit-loving relatives had brought over from Europe. Sally takes pleasure in the three day baking process and also the sentimentality behind this traditional, Winter cookie.

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    As Sally and I began rolling out the dough, pressing the cookie mold, and cutting the shapes so delicately, I couldn’t help but notice her cookbook close at hand. This book was far from any ordinary cookbook. What I found was more of a well-loved and well-used cooking journal of sorts. Handwritten notes were both taped onto the pages as well as written on the actual pages of the cookbook. Detailed reminders of ingredients to buy for next season, notes on the quality of the dough, the dates and amount of cookies baked, which molds were used and general baking suggestions could be found throughout the pages. This was so representative of Sally, not only thoughtful in her baking but also one to write everything down.

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    Of course, aside from the cookies, after we finished molding our gorgeous biscuit shapes, Sally did not let us depart without a Springerle recipe card which she hand wrote herself, of course. I can only imagine the smudges, added notes and baking suggestions which will be added to this new recipe card for years to come as I continue the tradition with my own children. Thank you, Sally, for both old and new traditions and the value you give towards handwriting in your life.

      Wedding Cheers!

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      I love late Summer weddings. After just returning from a knock-out family wedding in Durango, Colorado this past weekend, (i.e. tailgating pre-wedding service, the most unforgettable flower girls and pooch ring bearer, fireworks, roasted s’mores for dessert!), I’ve had weddings on my mind and all the surrounding details, from beginning to end. So grab a pen and paper, you bride and groom to-be, and get ready to take some most likely needed notes!

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      We all know the weeks and months leading up to the Big Day are often filled with many ‘things-to-do’ lists, including mailing off the save-the-date, wedding invitations and RSVPs…

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      Alice & Max Save the Date

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      Tyler and Eddie Wedding Invitation by Workhorse Printmakers

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      Botanical Vintage Roses Wedding Invitation and RSVP from Citrus Press

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      The international master of calligraphy and fine stationery, Bernard Maisner (the Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings, Darcy Miller, used Maisner for her wedding invitations).

      …The rush of the event keeps the bride and groom rolling full steam, but often the arrival of the dreaded Thank You note can kill the fire. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Keep it simple with the following suggestions, with help from our friend Peggy Post, great granddaughter to the Queen Bee of etiquette.

      1. Every gift or act of kindness deserves a handwritten card, no exceptions. This list should include people who give money, your attendants, friends and family who entertain for you or house your guests, vendors who go out of their way to make your wedding memorable, and even Uncle Tom who will supervise the parking at your reception. These individuals matter.

      2. Respond in a timely fashion. Ms. Post feels ideally you write the note on the day you receive the gift. Possibly set a goal to write three or four notes a day. Do remember, the accepted standard is to write and send a card within three months of receiving a gift. But don’t make yourself crazy with the thought of writing each day especially leading up to the wedding!

      3. Share the responsibility. We live in a modern society so why not work as a team to write these notes together. Open a bottle of good wine, light candles, play music, laugh about moments from the wedding. And be sure to include a signature from both individuals.

      4. No shortcuts. Signing a store bought card or writing the same message to everyone does not cut it. The notes people remember are the one which express your heartfelt feelings. Be thoughtful and considerate. Tip: look at the gift when you are writing the letter for inspiration.

      5. Be sure to pick up some kind of return address stamp to move the addressing along.

      6. And a little additional suggestion from Mrs. Brown here, keep your Thank You list and notes in one location, maybe even a basket or bag with pockets for pens, stamps and cards. This way you can write on the fly. Stop at a coffee shop with your spouse before work, sit at picnic table at a favorite park or plant yourselves at a location meaningful to you both.

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      Wedding Paper Divas

      Bottom line, especially in this day and age, a handwritten Thank You remains the gold standard of courtesy. Express your words and emotion on paper. There is simply no other way. Now briefly on to the cards themselves…

      When were married, we simply ordered plain Thank You notecards (with a touch of the wedgewood blue from our wedding theme, wowza were we into details) through the old Dayton’s (cue to weep!). But nowadays there are many options.

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      Polaroid Photo Wedding Thank You postcard from Marty McColgan.

      Although Peggy Post believes one should not include a wedding photo or photo card, if this will delay sending notes, I tend to disagree. I feel people enjoy a reminder of the day through an image. I’m especially fond of the greeting cards from Prinstagram. With the ease of using your Instagram account and the high quality card stock and envelopes, it’s a done deal.

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      My friends Beth and James are considering the above photo to use for their Thank You notes thru Prinstagram. It captures a blip of a moment which most guests didn’t catch yet holds the energy of the evening and the sweetness of the couple. Be authentic. Be you.

        Cursive; More Questions Than Answers

        The other day while cleaning out Emmett’s backpack, (our 2nd grader), my mouth dropped. I was unexpectedly holding a worksheet for students to trace and then write a letter “B” in cursive!! This was too good to be true. I know the Minneapolis Public Schools system no longer teaches cursive, choosing instead to spend time studying for standardized tests among other reasons, so I was (pleasantly) surprised by the find. After asking Emmett and his teacher, Mr. Janssen, why Emmett had been practicing cursive, I learned it was an extra bit of work the students could select during their free time. Although his teacher feels strongly about the importance of handwriting, he must use his class time for other school district requirements.

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        I was taught cursive in 3rd grade soon after D’Nealian was introduced in 2nd grade. Through the years my handwriting took the form of half-cursive, half-block writing. Surprisingly, the cursive has returned. Although I can’t say the same for my two closest friends from grade school. Both Kari and Theresa were taught cursive in the same fashion but have printed for as long as I can remember (and adoringly, their writing has barely changed!).

        I generally like the look of my writing and it’s become clear over the years that my cursive is here to stay. Not only does it hold a unique form but it’s by far faster to use cursive versus block writing especially when it comes to writing page after page while journaling.

        Awhile ago I caught a great story on the Today Show (patience with the 30 sec add, it’s worth the wait!) asking the question; are computers really fazing out penmanship? There are two clear sides to the battle; those who believe learning cursive takes time away from other subjects pitted against others who look at the values it brings to a student. Today in 44 states teaching cursive is optional, and in Hawaii and Indiana cursive is no longer in the curriculum. Which means as a school and a teacher and a parent we need to fight the good cursive fight.

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        The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of cursive is “any style of handwriting that is designed for writing notes and letters quickly by hand” and “many or all letters in a word are connected.” There you have it – Cursive is meant to save us time. I should share this with Emmett. He’s all about how fast can he get through his work! Maybe cursive is his answer. Stay tuned this summer as I remind you all of the benefits of handwriting, both print and cursive.

        P.S. I’m headed to the National Stationery Show tomorrow to find more paper goods for the shop! Be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram – Lots to discover at the Javits Cetner.

          Open for Business

          After much anticipation, sweat, tears, excitement, learning curves, and a good knock of pneumonia over the past week, we are thrilled to announce that the Brown Ink Paper Goods online boutique is now open for business!!! It’s true.

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          Before I let you go and begin your pre-holiday shopping (ha!), thanks needs to be given.

          From the beginning, we met many people supporting the idea of an online store, but no one more than our friend Jenni David. Her suggestions of a Creative Juicing Session (what%&!$?) and a UX Experience (User Experience), although foreign to me, were beyond helpful. Louisa Podlich, the fabulous photographer and also founder of the unique A MANO, created the beautiful product images. Kate Arends, from the well-loved Wit & Delight, was the incredible force behind the rebranding of Brown Ink. Eric Price from The Walker Art Center was our brilliant creative graphic designer. We turned to the talented duo, Scott Anderson and Jeremy Ward, at Room 34 to develop both the new look of the site last spring and most recently the store. When in need of last minute help, our friend and web designer, Heather Musil, from Little Bird Design was there in a moment’s notice. And applause to dear Sarah Hrudka for being an ever present force and guidance through many vital decisions. These people were also vital in our understanding of how to run an online business. Thank you, friends, for your time and talent. And also cheers to our sweet community of folks who tested the site before it went public and gave invaluable feedback!

          I also need to personally thank my dear husband, Nick, for believing in my dream to sell paper goods. He’s one amazing guy.

          Now off you go to explore the Brown Ink Paper Goods store.  We’d love to hear any comments and thoughts you’d like to share. And if you are all smiles, like us on Facebook or subscribe to our blog.